Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Reminder About Capital Punishment



In other news, while the Church is hemorrhaging across the western world; while the homosexual mafia continues to infiltrate and denigrate the priesthood; while the E.U. votes to make abortion a fundamental human right and public schools in Michigan are holding "Hijab Day" to promote Islam - while the partisans of the religion of peace are rampaging across the Middle East beheading people and exterminating Christian communities and Rome is gloomily silent; while huge swaths of the Catholic world cave in to legalized sexual immorality, the Church hierarchy is rent by division over the question of admitting adulterers to communion and Germany threatens to go into schism if Rome doesn't go their way in October - and while a California archbishop is taking hell for supporting traditional Catholic morality and yet receives no support from the Vatican; and while liturgies across the Catholic world are still a disaster and the majority of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence or the Church's teaching on contraception...

...four Catholic newspapers decide to take a stand on capital punishment!

This is so dumb, so facile, such a waste of space and breath and intellect that I'm not really going to bother addressing it. We all know the Church's teaching on capital punishment. We all know the Catholic world for centuries until the last thirty years never had any qualms about capital punishment. We all know this is just a stupid "feel good" position taken by some liberal/moderate rags who are too intellectually lazy to sort out the moral theology of the question and too cowardly to take on something of real importance (i.e., the homosexual lobby) in a pitiful attempt to pretend that they still have relevance.

I just want to remind people of one thing to keep in mind in the midst of this whole absurd story:

The prime rationale employed by those who oppose the death penalty absolutely is that it is unjust to take a human life because of the intrinsic dignity of the human person. As a being made in the image and likeness of God, man possesses a certain inherent dignity, which - they say - makes it an offense against the dignity of the human person to take his or her life.

Let's go back to the beginning, shall we?

In Genesis 9:6, the practice of capital punishment is instituted by God Himself. Note that He does not simply tolerate and permit capital punishment (as he tolerated polygamy and divorce in the Old Testament), but He actually institutes it by a positive decree. That alone tells you it could not be intrinsically evil.

But anyhow, look at the rationale God gives for instituting capital punishment:

"Whosoever shall shed man's blood, his blood shall be shed: for man was made to the image of God." - Gen. 9:6

In other words, the very rationale God gives for instituting the death penalty is the same rationale now given to abolish it! Those who argue against capital punishment based on man's intrinsic dignity as an imago dei are appealing to the same principle God did when He instituted it! 

What strange times we live in. What a total inversion. "Woe to those who call good evil and evil good." (Isa. 5:20)

It is really quite simple...if we believe man is made in the image of God and has an immeasurable human dignity, how do we treat those who violate it? The Book of Genesis says murderers deserve death because life is precious, because man is an imago dei. How convincing is our reverence for life if its mockers are suffered to live?

For a great exposition of this, I direct you to "Capital Punishment: The Case for Justice" by J. Budziszewski, First Things, August, 2004.

I also recommend "The Corrupt Theology of the 'Seamless Garment'" by Matthew J. Bellisario on the blog Coalition for Thomism.

That's all I am going to say about this stupid topic. I pray that the editors of these Catholic publications - as well as the Catholic prelates who keep harping about this while ignoring the other elephants in the room - cure themselves of the case of rectal-cranial inversion they have obviously been laboring under and join the real world.


6 comments:

Puff the Magic Dragon said...

God also gave the rules and guidelines for slavery.
Do we still have that?

Tom Healey said...

I explained in my first comment weeks ago how much I appreciate your posts(I had this internal question off and on - how can a guy so young know so much about Christianity? A convert even. I assume you're around 30). I read your post this morning, and I wanted to respond right away, but decided to wait. And I'm glad I did. It's a beautiful evening here in Toronto, and I've had sporadic thoughts about your post this afternoon. I'd like to share some of them with you.

I'm not giving advice. And I want to avoid reading too much into your words. This post on "capital punishment" was different. Much more personal, passionate which I like.

To give you some idea where I'm coming from - I'm a pre-Vat 11 Catholic, and unlike your generation questioning Christian authority, like popes, does not come easily. Since Pope Francis was elected I've had to struggle to come to terms with his Papacy. I made a lot of excuses for him and tried to defend him against the onslaught of criticism. But I've reached the point where I'm prepared to accept that maybe he is misguided, and that he's not the humble man we would like him to be. And I still go back and forth. Maybe I just don't see or understand his vision for the Church. Which obviously is more than possible. However, I can at least say that he has said and done some weird things - "who am I to Judge" being the least of them.

I'm not well educated, and I have no theological or biblical training. My days are consumed with my interior life. My spiritual life, meaning the life of sanctifying grace and purification. If you are interested I can refer you to CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL DIRECTION posts from today and past weeks on the trials and struggles of those like myself who live this deep calling. I read many of Dan's posts because they kind of dovetail with my own spiritual struggles. Anyway, God doesn't reinvent the wheel just for me every time I have concerns about the state the Church is in today even though I receive many graces. But they pertain to my own flawed nature.

I still have to go to Catholic theologians and great websites like yours, Catholic Answers, Michael Voris, Forward Boldly, The Remnant and others lile The Institute for Catholic Culture. You get the idea.

So to my point re your post. The bad news just keeps coming. Getting different perspectives on the state of the Church, Pope Francis et al, helps me apart from my daily prayer life. This is where I have to check my pride and accept that I could have been wrong about Francis before as well as now even though I've practically done an "about face". Whatever happens Christ will always be with the Teaching Church.

I decided that I would "riff" with my comment and hope for the best. I hope my thoughts are clear.

Keep up the good work Boniface. And may God bless you always.

Boniface said...

Thanks, Tom!

Puff, there is a difference between giving guidelines for something and actually instituting or commanding it. God never commanded slavery, nor did He institute it. But God did actually institute the death penalty and commanded it, on many, many occasions.

Murray said...

Great article, Boniface. I share your exasperation at this stupid, wholly unnecessary argument.

khk91 said...

I wish being a good Christian was as simple as knowing the right teaching.

Raider Fan said...

Puff. You are proof that slavery exists.

Now, you could extricate yourself from your slavery to the making-no-distinctions-zeitgeist and you are at the right Blog to do that.

Good luck